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DVD Review: Brilliant Second Season of NBC’s ‘Community’

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CHICAGO – The program most unforgivably missing from Sunday’s Emmy telecast is NBC’s brilliant comedy “Community.” It’s almost as if the Academy decided there were too many NBC shows at the party (“The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock”) and so left out arguably the best of the Thursday night bunch. See the second season, now available on DVD, and see the level of Emmy injustice for yourself.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 5.0/5.0
Television Rating: 5.0/5.0

“Community” went through some growing pains in season one but returned from the brink of cancellation more creatively confident and daring than nearly any program on TV (only two comedies of 2011 — “Parks and Rec,” “Louie” — were arguably better). Dan Harmon’s show is the kind of comedy made for DVD in that you can watch episode after episode after episode and never tire of the show. Stand-outs in season two include “Basic Rocket Science,” “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design,” “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” “Celebrity Pharmacology 212,” “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons,” “Critical Film Studies,” and the two-part paintball finale. How many shows can weave references to “My Dinner with Andre,” “Apollo 13,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Frosty the Snowman,” and much more into one consistent series? “Community” might be the smartest show on TV.

Photo credit: Sony

It’s definitely one of the best-performed. Joel McHale, Alison Brie, and Danny Pudi all deserved Emmy nominations and the rest of the cast improved in season two as well with Gillian Jacobs finding a wonderful rhthym as Britta and Chevy Chase discovering a very-dark edge to Pierce. Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, and even the sometimes-annoying Ken Jeong also found stand-out moments. I love this cast and will be broken if NBC ever choses to show them the door before the program has run its course.

The DVD-only release of “Community” is a disappointing decision on the part of Sony. Why not release a show with a loyal fan-base on Blu-ray? The thinking is that the show doesn’t really lose all that much by not being in HD but the program looks fantastic in its original broadcast and shouldn’t fans be able to own a series with the same level of quality as when they watched it off their DVR?

Despite the disappointing lack of a Blu-ray release, the four-disc DVD release is pretty stellar. It includes stronger-than-average transfers and an impressive array of special features, including commentaries on every single episode. With deleted scenes, outtakes, and behind-the-scenes featurettes, this as extensive a TV-on-DVD release as you’ll find on the shelf on this month. The Academy may not have done “Community” justice, but Sony has treated one of its best programs very, very well.

Special Features:
o Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
o Cast & Crew Commentary On Every Episode
o The Paintball Finale: From Script To Screen
o Creating Wonderland
o Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas Animatics
o Season 2 Cast Evaluations
o DJ Steve Porter Remixes Season One

“Community: The Complete Second Season” stars Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Donald Glover. The show was created by Dan Harmon. It was released on DVD on September 6th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Mandy Kilinskis's picture

Completely agree

Brian, I couldn’t agree more with you. I was disappointed when Community didn’t get Emmy nominations after its first season, but I was just shocked when it happened again after the second season.

There wasn’t a bad episode all season. There wasn’t a single episode that didn’t have me laughing out loud at some point. It’s absolutely rare to find a sitcom that performs at that level. The actors have truly mastered their characters, and these subtle meta rants about TV are brilliant. A clip show mocking clip shows? That’s hilarious!

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